Southampton's best XI made up of former players who are still playing
Southampton Football Club has always been a conveyor belt for producing home grown talent but also developing foreign stars into world class players.
During Mauricio Pochettino’s time at St Mary’s, the Argentine nurtured the likes of Nathaniel Clyne, Luke Shaw, Callum Chambers, James Ward-Prowse and Adam Lallana.
Prior to that the likes of Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Gareth Bale have all come through the famous Southampton Academy.
With that in mind, we’ve put together a Southampton eleven of former players who are still playing that would have been a formidable outfit if they were playing in the same Saints side…
The goalkeeping position proved to be the most difficult one to fill, but we went with Gunn who joined from Manchester City four years ago.
The 26-year-old made 30 appearances for the Saints, but he is now plying his trade with Norwich City where is the understudy to Tim Krul.
Gunn struggled to see off the challenge of Fraser Forster and Alex McCarthy.
After establishing himself as the club’s number one right-back, Clyne secured a big-money move to Liverpool.
The 31-year-old played 44 games under Pochettino before making 93 appearances under Jurgen Klopp for the red half of Merseyside.
Clyne, a 14-time England international is now back at Selhurst Park with Crystal Palace, the club that he started the career at.
The towering Croatian was signed by Pochettino from Lyon and made 31 appearances at St Mary’s before Liverpool came calling for the centre-back.
The 32-year-old made 185 appearances for Liverpool before moving to Russian giants Zenit St Petersburg.
Lovren has 70 Croatia caps to his name and will no doubt be part of their squad for this winter’s World Cup.
Virgil van Dijk
The Dutchman was a revelation when he arrived to the Premier League from Scottish giants Celtic.
The 30-year-old showed his class and earned his £75million move to Anfield. Van Dijk made 80 Southampton appearances, which came under Mauricio Pellegrino, Claude Puel and Ronald Koeman.
Van Dijk has established himself as one of the most formidable defenders since linking up with Klopp and he slotted straight back into Liverpool’s backline after his serious knee injury.
It only needed for two full seasons in the Premier League for Manchester United to be convinced of Shaw’s burgeoning potential.
The left-back made a name for himself by bombing up and down the left-hand side and he only made 67 appearances before being snapped up the Red Devils.
Shaw has struggled to consistently perform at Old Trafford, but with him turning 27 in July, the England international who made his debut at the age of 17, will be hoping to kick on as he enters his prime years.
Following a breakthrough 2010/11 campaign in League One, Arsene Wenger had seen enough to go all out and swoop for the powerful midfielder.
The 28-year-old now finds himself at Liverpool but after suffering some serious injuries, the England international finds himself down the pecking order.
With the World Cup on the horizon, a summer move may be needed for Chamberlain if he wants to get first team football and impress Gareth Southgate.
The Southampton Academy graduate played 265 appearances for the Saints, which came under eight different managers, before being snapped up by Liverpool.
The creative and technical midfielder played 130 times for Klopp, but as the German’s strength in depth increased year on year, Lallana’s playing prospects reduced.
Lallana, who has been capped 34 times by England, has made 55 appearances since making the move back down south with Brighton & Hove Albion.
After an impressive Championship campaign in 2005/06, which brought five goals and 11 assists, Bale was signed by Tottenham Hotspur.
Following a slow start to life in north London, the Welshman took his game to a whole new level when he was pushed forward into the attacking areas.
Bale was improving with every passing season in the Premier League and he secured his big-money move to Real Madrid where he has won the Champions League four times.
The 32-year-old’s contract in the Spanish capital expires in the summer and it will be interesting to see where the Wales legend opts to go next in his career.
The Serbian wizard who possesses a wand of a left foot enjoyed his best spell with the Saints under Koeman. The 33-year-old scored 14 goals and provided 23 assists from 77 games.
But the 33-year-old’s career has elevated to new heights since joining Dutch giants Ajax.
Since joining the Amsterdam-based side and playing under Erik ten Hag, who is set to become Manchester United’s new permanent manager, Tadic has consistently been posting impressive figures.
From 190 games for the Eredivisie leaders, Tadic has been directly involved in 180 goals (91 goals, 89 assists).
After arriving from RB Salzburg in the summer of 2014, Mane impressed under Koeman before securing his big-money move to Koeman.
The African Cup of Nations winner scored 25 goals and made 14 assists from 75 Saints appearances.
Since arriving at Anfield in 2016, the 30-year-old has scored 116 goals and made 46 assists. He has won five trophies under the tutelage of Klopp and he’ll have a key role to play in Liverpool’s pursuit of an unprecedented quadruple.
The former Liverpool man was averaging nearly a goal every other game at Southampton before being snapped up by Aston Villa last summer.
The three-time England international scored 46 goals from 100 Saints games. Ings has struggled to reproduce his blistering form that he showed down south since arriving in the Midlands.
Ings is the final piece of the former Southampton man jigsaw and he’d likely have plenty of chances to score with the wealth of creativity behind him.